Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles - Back to Basics

The Department of Energy has posted an introduction to electric vehicles on Youtube. It's pretty basic, but maybe that's where the general public needs to start in order to lure them away from the comforts of their gas powered cars and trucks. The video can't hurt considering electric vehicles represent less than 1% of retail registration. But with about 7,000 Nissan LEAFs and a little more than 5,000 Chevy Volts registered through November of 2011, I think they are off to a good start...Read...
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OEMs Struggle to Move Hybrid Vehicles

New vehicle registration data for the first seven months of 2011 suggest a gap between actual retail demand for hybrid vehicles and the need to increase hybridization of the U.S. fleet to reduce emissions, reliance on foreign oil and global warming. Models produced with both internal combustion engines and gas/electric powertrains are inherently more difficult to sell than hybrid-only products, as the former lack the distinct styling of the latter and therefore do not "stand out" or make a...Read...
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Nissan LEAF Test Drive Excitement

I had the pleasure of test driving a Nissan LEAF this past weekend when the Nissan Drive Electric tour came to the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn Michigan. Nissan put on a pretty good show with good information about the battery, service schedule and cost difference between gas and electric. The test drive wasn't bad either. The LEAF joystick/shifter and range meter gave you enough contrast from what you were used to that you knew you were driving something different, but the same...
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Excited About My Electric Vehicle Test Drive

I'm excited about my upcoming Nissan Leaf test drive this Friday. I want to be optimistic about the future of electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure and I'm considering the purchase of an electric vehicle since my husband has a 60+ mile commute each day.  But so many questions are going through my mind about electric vehicles.
  • Will an electric vehicle have the durability needed to withstand 20,000 or more miles a year?
  • How many years can you realistically get out of the battery or the...
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Looking for a Premium Electric Vehicle?

Interested in a premium vehicle? How about a premium vehicle capable of getting 100 miles per U.S. gallon? Oh, I need to point out the MSRP of $95,900 USD. Still with me? If so, I want you to know about the Fisker Karma, which meets all of the above criteria.Debuted at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, the Karma launched the premium green car segment that most major OEMs are now pursuing. Capable of delivering a range of over 300 miles and a top speed of 125 mph, the Karma had...Re...
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Who is the Number One German Luxury Carmaker?

The recently published half-year sales of the three German luxury car brands (Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz) were quite impressive. All three recorded sales performances that were considered better than ever.However, the Year-over-Year (YOY) growth showed some significant differences: while sales of Audi and BMW models increased by more than 17 percent, the sales performance of Mercedes-Benz (cars, without Smart) improved less than 10%. In absolute terms, BMW is leading with sales of 690,000...Read...
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New Execution on Hybrid Technology

Fellow blogger, Tom Libby, just wrote about the resurgence of Buick. I want to add to his thoughts and talk about their eAssist Technology, which is creating more positive press for Buick and will likely translate to continued sales increases. eAssist is a gas/electric powertrain that, according to Buick.com, will be introduced on the LaCrosse and Regal later this year as 2012 models.eAssist is another example of OEMs making hybrids more appealing to the average driver who doesn't want their...R...
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Ford Working on a Better Idea to Keep Us Healthy

We have all come to expect that our vehicles will safely deliver us to our chosen destinations and to protect us in the event of an accident. However, the Ford Motor Company is taking steps to allow us to use our vehicles for overall health monitoring. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators reports Ford has announced that its research team in Aachen, Germany, has developed a car seat with six sensors that can monitor a driver's heart by its electrical impulses. Such a seat,...
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What a Woman Wants: Fabulous Automobile Features

It has been published recently that women influence about 85% of vehicle purchases in the U.S. I can testify this is true in my house and I definitely have some opinions. So if you haven't purchased or leased a new vehicle in the last couple of years you are going to be pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of available features. We're not just talking about expensive luxury models, even the economy segment is all over it. There are too many to list but here are a few standouts from a...Read M...
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What's your Favorite Green Car?

In honor of St. Patrick's Day I thought about what my favorite green car might be. I thought about the new Chevy Volt, the Prius, the hybrid Fusion and of course the new Leaf. But of all the hybrid and electric vehicles I could think of, none of them topped my favorite green car. The 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS tops my list. With an optional (and rare) L72 engine pumping out 425 HP, how can you not get excited about this car? And how can you forget the convertible? On this nice almost-spring day...
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Electric Vehicle 101 -- Brought to You by Ford

We can't seem to get away from the ever-increasing media coverage on electric vehicle technology. Along with the media coverage comes an entirely new language -- quick, what’s the difference between BEV, PHEV and just good old EV? Ford Motor Company has released a three-minute educational video describing the differences between hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. This is a very high-level look at the various technologies so if you are an accomplished scientist this may be...
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Chicago Commits to Electric Vehicles

On Tuesday, February 22, the city of Chicago announced an $8.9 million electric vehicle infrastructure plan to add 280 recharging stations in and around the city by the end of 2011. This is right ahead of the planned 2011 4th quarter Chevy Volt launch and fall 2011 Nissan Leaf launch into the Chicago area.With such a large commitment within the next 2 years, I think the OEMs will be modifying their electric vehicle market roll-out strategies and adding Chicago to the list of sooner rather...Re...
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Toyota and Asian Buyers Lead the Way with Gas and Electric Hybrids

Unlike their ethanol flex fuel peers, Americans have been slow to accept the hybrid gas and electric vehicles. The gas electric hybrid market represents 2.6 percent of the personal new volume year-to-date through November 2010. The current share represents a .3 percentage point reduction from the prior 2.9% share for the same time period in 2009. To keep everything in perspective, Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota and Lexus) dominates this market with 72% of the new vehicle volume. The closest...R...
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Market Shift to Flexible Gasoline and Ethanol Vehicles

Flexible (gasoline/ethanol) vehicles, commonly referred to as "E85" or "Flex Fuel," represent one of every 10 personal new vehicle purchases year-to-date through November 2010. This represents a market share increase of nearly 6 percentage points since 2006. As a consumer who lived through the gas price crisis, I expected the new wave of fuel efficient vehicles to push Americans into small minicar like transportation. On the other hand, as a member of the Polk analytic community, I was keenly...R...
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Nearly Half of Ford Models Show Share Gain

Ford's recent success has been driven by the Ford Division, as Lincoln has struggled with a lack of new products and Mercury has been discontinued. The Ford brand's share of the U.S. new light vehicle market has climbed 2.5 points from calendar year 2008 to calendar year 2010, an impressive amount. To put this in perspective, Ford's gain in share over this two year period is greater than the entire 2010 share of Subaru, Mazda, or Volkswagen.And, Ford's share gain is not a fluke, i.e., it...
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Where You At? Proximity Marketing Hits the Web

In the last 'Where You At?' installment, we discussed the growing social networks based on geo-location technology mixed with social media sharing, and how it's changing the conversation for businesses. The latest iteration of the proximity phenomenon finds itself on the web. This is curious to me, because web users are supposedly concerned about data privacy, deleting cookies, and generally keeping their click habits to themselves.There are a number of sites and programs that blow the above...Re...
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2011 – A Big Year in U.S. Automotive?

So we are one month into the New Year, the North American International Auto Show is behind us and everyone has put their stake in the ground. From what I have seen, the expectation is a market of around 12.5 million units this year – certainly better than the last few but nowhere near the 16 million mark of a few years ago. What's your guess? (Because let's be honest – that's what they all are!)What are the big things that could impact this year? Let's start with the obvious – the economy...
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The Industry Faces Many "Unknowns"

Automotive forecasting companies are all predicting a steady increase in U.S. new light vehicle sales during the next several years on the way to pre-recession annual levels of 15-17 million units by mid-decade. One factor in these predictions on which the forecasting companies are not dwelling as much as they perhaps should be is the large number of “unknowns” facing the industry. I believe, partially because of what this industry has experienced in the past 2–3 years, the U.S. new vehicle...Rea...
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Saving Gas

If you could increase the fuel efficiency of just one vehicle segment by 10%, which segment would you choose? The table below shows the number of vehicles bought new in each macro segment in the last 12 months (personal registrations only), along with a SWAG at the average mpg for that segment:Personal Registrations, Last 12 Months Vehicle Segment Count Est. MPG Entry/Economy Car 1,396,394 30 Midsize Car 1,805,962 28 Sporty Car 255,991 20 Luxury/Large Car 768,797 22 Minivan 296,526 20 Mini Sport...
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Alternate Fuel Vehicles - Will They End America's Love Affair with Large Trucks?

The introduction of hybrid, alternate fuel and electric vehicles was supposed to signal the end for the large people haulers (Pickups and SUVs) and a move to smaller more fuel efficient minicar like vehicles, right? ...Not in America! Based on new U.S. light vehicle registrations, gasoline powered vehicles are down 6.1 percentage points year-to-date November 2010 (84.4%) compared to the same time period in 2008 (90.9%). These owners have moved to alternate fuel vehicles which represent the...
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